The light of experience is a interesting phenomenon. It doesn’t necessarily shine in front of you, although it can sometimes give you the shape of things you may have seen before.
Considered experience actually does the opposite and shines brightly on the past. It helps you to see more clearly the past and the ways that you, in the moment, either correctly perceived or misperceived the events of the day. More often than not, one of the ways that you see clearer in hindsight is the removal of the fog of emotions that so often hinder our vision. Without the pressing emotions of fear, lust, anger, or ambition attached to a specific course of action we can more clearly see what should have happened and why or why not we chose a particular route.
Often we may notice that fear so often achieves the goal of dissuading us from a brave course of action by minimizing who we think we are and consequently what we think we deserve.
This is fear’s favorite game.
Distracting us from our identity and helping us to choose a sub-optimal course of action based on our fears about what we are capable of and what is possible for someone like us.
Our identity plays such a huge role in determining the light that we see ourselves and is subject to so many variables – the culture we were raised in, the words our parents used on us, the relationships we entered into before we knew how to create boundaries around our identity. Our identities can so often be damaged, inaccurate, or downright fiction, as we’ve so often seen on singing competitions.
Because of the fickle nature of the identities that we’ve defined by our own thoughts and perceptions over the course of our lives, the importance of finding an identity that isn’t subject to the winds of human machinations is beyond important.
Ask the many people who have built an identity and found out later that this identity isn’t robust enough to carry them through a full life.
What do rich men who become poor do?
How do beautiful women who become old or ugly feel?
How do overachievers who become sick or infirm think of themselves?
What happens when the coolest among us, become the creepy old person in the singles bar?
Or the toughest guy in the neighborhood finds himself in a prison full of the toughest men in the city, state, country?
When the identity we’ve invested in for years no longer seems to be viable in the world we inhabit, this can open the door to being lost, to midlife crises, and to destroying everything we’ve built in order to figure out who are we actually.
Our identities should be built on something more solid than the vagaries of the cultural moment or the words of the flawed people who raised us.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”Matthew 7:24-27
Fly or Fall.